Vicky Ayala Richardson has taken a very long and winding road to discover her Basque roots. However, once discovered, she has been single minded in her approach to connecting with the sights, sounds and tastes which are Basque. Collected directly from the Basque lands and brought together in her book, Basque Country Discovery & Connections. This book is an overview of the Basque Country, including its location, history, nationalism, language, Diaspora, and global contributions.
The heart of this study is devoted to the Ayala family history beginning in 790 AD and describes the important role of Don Pedro Lopez de Ayala (1332-1407), Chancellor of Spain. Portrayal of the Basque experience; its national holidays, festivals, and market days, invite the reader to enjoy the life style of the Basques. Also covered are descriptions of Basque culture: the importance of the family name, mythology, poetry (Bertsolari), folklore, music, folk dancing, fine arts, architecture, the Guggenheim Museum, Victor Hugo, Ernest Hemingway, and the national card game, Mus. Sports is an integral part of Basque society - from soccer, games and competitions of strength and endurance, pelota/jai alai, the running of the bulls in Pamplona, and the trekking experience on the Way of St. James. Coverage of Basque wine and cuisine introduces readers to Txakoli and Rioja wine, Ayala Champagne, the connection of chocolate with Bayonne, and popular Basque recipes. A brief description of Basque Country weather, flora, and fauna round out the reader's Basque experience.